WWBT Reporter Defends Former VA Senator in Racial Controversy Sparked by WRC’s Craig Melvin

By Andrew Gauthier Comment

A tweet sent out this week by WRC reporter Craig Melvin (above) has landed onetime Virginia senator George Allen in the middle of yet another racial quagmire as he tries to regain his old senate seat in the 2012 election.

Melvin, who is black, tweeted that Allen, whose political career crumbled a few years back after he used a racial slur during a campaign speech, had asked him for the second time in five months, “What position did you play?”

“I did not a play a sport,” Melvin tweeted, pointedly. The intimation being of course that Allen kept asking Melvin about his sports history because he is black.

While Allen may have lingering problems with racial insensitivity, it turns out that the situation with Melvin appears to have been a simple misunderstanding, and another reporter took to Twitter to say as much.

Ryan Nobles, an anchor and reporter with Richmond’s WWBT who has extensive experience covering Virginia politics, tweeted today:

I think it’s worth pointing out that @GeorgeAllenva often asks me what position I played in sports as well.

And Allen, for his part, responded to Melvin on Twitter, saying:

sorry if I offended, ask people a lot if they played sports Grew up in football family found sports banter good way to connect

Allen’s father George was a legendary NFL coach who was inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame in 2002. And, really, one doesn’t even have to go beyond Twitter to see that the 140-character dust-up may have been overblown: on his profile, Allen says that he is “guided by the ‘Four F’s’ that have shaped his entire life: Family, Faith, Freedom and Football.”